How to Brine a Turkey for the. Juiciest. Bird. Ever.

Thanksgiving was always at our house. Every year, friends, family, neighbors we barely knew wound their way through the fog to our home in the Berkeley hills, bearing pecan and pumpkin pies, sweet potato casseroles bobbing with marshmallows, tureens of…

Thanksgiving was always at our house. Every year, friends, family, neighbors we barely knew wound their way through the fog to our home in the Berkeley hills, bearing pecan and pumpkin pies, sweet potato casseroles bobbing with marshmallows, tureens of green beans, and bowls of guacamole (this last one always arrived with a particularly time-challenged guest after dessert, but was polished off nonetheless).

My father, a vegetarian since his twenties, was for some inscrutable reason in charge of the turkey. A few hours before guests arrived, he’d pull the bird out of its bag of brine (a major Snowden-level leak one November left our fridge permanently frosted in turkey salt) and haul it onto the barbecue. He’d bring out bottles of liquor that had accumulated at the back of our cabinet over the year, and pour them over the bird in their entirety, to dubious effect. There was a lot of head-scratching and bird poking, and eventually he’d decide the turkey was probably done. Someone would take the electric turkey saw to it, and a few minutes later we’d be heaping our plates with steaming slices of miraculously succulent meat.

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How to Make Home Fries, the Superior Potato Preparation (We Said It!)

Passing the gleaming prefab husks of my favorite Manhattan diners these days brings a pang. The exaggerated nostalgia of neon signs and swooping stainless steel, of sprawling, manic menus, is now a sort of memorial to itself. I can practically smell th…

Passing the gleaming prefab husks of my favorite Manhattan diners these days brings a pang. The exaggerated nostalgia of neon signs and swooping stainless steel, of sprawling, manic menus, is now a sort of memorial to itself. I can practically smell the singed, watery coffee as I wander by. But until our favorite haunts return to their timeless, 24-hour routine, we can take advantage of their absence to make some diner classics better—let’s face it—than we could ever find on a foldout menu.

That brings us to one of the great pillars of diner fare—home fries. At their best, home fries are a perfect union of crisped potatoes, browned onions, and grilled peppers. They should be ordered extra crispy, to avoid the tragedy of the steamed, crunchy potato, and should always be topped with a dash or two of hot sauce. We can argue knife skills and varietals—my ideal home fries involve quartered new potatoes, whereas my brother likes a diced russet—but we can all agree that, alongside a diner omelet, with a cup of weak coffee and some good company, this is the perfect breakfast food. And until I can order them at my favorite diners again, I’ll be making them at home.

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11 Great Corn Syrup Substitutes (in Case You Don’t Have it on Hand)

In the U.S., at least, corn syrup is ubiquitous. We mix it into our marshmallows and pour it over our pancakes; we sip it in our sodas and cook it into our caramels. In its high-fructose form, the average American has consumed more than 40 pounds a yea…

In the U.S., at least, corn syrup is ubiquitous. We mix it into our marshmallows and pour it over our pancakes; we sip it in our sodas and cook it into our caramels. In its high-fructose form, the average American has consumed more than 40 pounds a year over the past decade. Light and dark corn syrups, the versions typically used by home cooks, can be found in nearly every supermarket and bodega in the country.

And yet, here you are, in search of a substitute. Maybe it’s for health reasons. Maybe you don’t feel like walking to the store. Maybe you’ve slipped into an alternate reality where Gottlieb Kirchhoff seriously miscalculated the sulfuric acid concentration before taking a sip of his new syrup, and didn’t survive to share his results. If you’ve never heard of Gottlieb Kirchhoff, then that must be it.

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How to Cook Millet, the Ancient Grain You Might Have Overlooked

In the new millenium, grain trends move about as fast as fashion. From 2006 to 2013, as we were shimmying out of our skinny jean fetish and into our bland beige normcore phase, we were consuming quinoa at such an outrageous rate that crop prices triple…

In the new millenium, grain trends move about as fast as fashion. From 2006 to 2013, as we were shimmying out of our skinny jean fetish and into our bland beige normcore phase, we were consuming quinoa at such an outrageous rate that crop prices tripled, making the Andean staple almost unaffordable in its native region.

Maturing into dadcore in 2017, we got obsessed with what we call "ancient grains," and added amaranth and Kamut to the list of old-timers that were suddenly hot. 2019 was undeniably the year of the jumpsuit, and also the year of the farro bowl. Now here we are in 2020, buffeted by an unending string of catastrophes, looking for something starchy to hold on to. This, friends, is where millet comes in.

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11 Butter Substitutes for Your Cooking & Baking (But Only if You Must)

Let’s start with the bad news. There is absolutely nothing on this earth that can truly replace butter. Not the most extra-virginal olive oil, not the most convincingly golden popcorn topping, not even the most optimistically branded substitute spread….

Let’s start with the bad news. There is absolutely nothing on this earth that can truly replace butter. Not the most extra-virginal olive oil, not the most convincingly golden popcorn topping, not even the most optimistically branded substitute spread. If it’s not butter then yes, I can believe it’s not butter. But if you’ve just flipped open the butter door to find yourself staring into the void, don’t despair. With some clever substitution techniques, you’ll be baking, sautéing, or slathering toast without a stick in sight.


What makes butter butter?

Butter, like most good things in life, is an emulsion. Agitate cream enough, and the tiny droplets of butterfat will come together, separating from the watery buttermilk. The result is mostly butterfat, but not all. Butter is typically 15 to 30 percent water, with milk proteins working as an emulsifier (more on these later).

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Wet Markets Are Essential to Thai Cooking. So Why Are They Disappearing?

In the harrowing early days of the pandemic, Prin Polsuk, a preeminent chef and scholar of Thai cuisine, could source many of his ingredients directly from farms and suppliers outside of Bangkok. But still, he visited Khlong Toei, one of the largest we…

In the harrowing early days of the pandemic, Prin Polsuk, a preeminent chef and scholar of Thai cuisine, could source many of his ingredients directly from farms and suppliers outside of Bangkok. But still, he visited Khlong Toei, one of the largest wet markets in Thailand, almost every day.

“The market makes me feel alive,” he tells me over a choppy video call, his youthful face framed by salt-and-pepper scruff. “I go there to get inspired.”

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19 Sweet-as-Heck Substitutes for Brown Sugar

Perhaps I am not the best person to go to for advice about sugar. After all, I didn’t know it existed until I was about six. As a kid, I was always the first one to leave the birthday party with my mom. We left, you see, so I wouldn’t discover the cake…

Perhaps I am not the best person to go to for advice about sugar. After all, I didn’t know it existed until I was about six. As a kid, I was always the first one to leave the birthday party with my mom. We left, you see, so I wouldn’t discover the cake. Weaving through the front gardens of my kindergarten friends’ oversize Berkeley homes, my mother would pick the candy from the goodie bag and, with righteous conviction, toss it into the potted plants.

You can imagine my surprise when, around the time my friends found out about Santa, I discovered I’d been suckered into celebrating my own birthdays with “birthday soup” and had lost a few pounds of perfectly good candy to somebody’s flowerpot. The good news is that while my friends were totally decompensating as their entire theological framework went up the chimney, I was eating cake.

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How to Make the Creamiest, Dreamiest Pudding (a Highly Underrated Dessert)

Generally speaking, I’m the guy who shows up to the casual potluck carrying a seven-layer cake with pomegranate seeds individually set into the bittersweet glaze with tweezers. I don’t recommend being that person. As such, I’m here to talk to you about…

Generally speaking, I’m the guy who shows up to the casual potluck carrying a seven-layer cake with pomegranate seeds individually set into the bittersweet glaze with tweezers. I don’t recommend being that person. As such, I’m here to talk to you about pudding.

Pudding, at least the American, cornstarch-based version, is about as un-tweezery as dessert gets. And it’s got a lot going for it. It can take on a vast range of flavors, from rich chocolate or bourbon to delicate saffron, cinnamon, or jasmine, with a few simple tweaks to the recipe.

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The Right Way to Boil Potatoes (Even if You Think You Already Know How)

I admit that, despite being a fairly accomplished cook, I have found myself on multiple occasions googling “how to boil potatoes.” I know there are only so many moving parts here, but still I find myself staring down the pile of misshapen tubers on my …

I admit that, despite being a fairly accomplished cook, I have found myself on multiple occasions googling “how to boil potatoes.” I know there are only so many moving parts here, but still I find myself staring down the pile of misshapen tubers on my counter, totally paralyzed. Should I peel? Should I slice? Did I pick the right potatoes? To add to my growing panic, my wife, who is Irish, has opinions. One does not, for example, mash potatoes with cream, or with chives. One certainly does not purée potatoes. There is a right sort of potato to mash, but when I text her to ask what the right sort are called, she responds, “I think we call them potatoes.”

If you are facing a similar crisis: It doesn’t have to be like this. Together, we can figure it out.

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10 Surefire Substitutes for All-Purpose Flour

We were just as surprised as you were when, in the middle of an apocalyptic global pandemic, everybody decided it was time to bake bread. Now walking down the baking aisle of the local supermarket can be like staring into the void, with regular old, ru…

We were just as surprised as you were when, in the middle of an apocalyptic global pandemic, everybody decided it was time to bake bread. Now walking down the baking aisle of the local supermarket can be like staring into the void, with regular old, run-of-the-mill all-purpose flour nowhere to be found. But fear not. There are plenty of alternatives to all-purpose, and we’ll walk you through the best of them. Before we get started, a bit about all-purpose flour, and why it can be tricky to imitate.


What Is All-Purpose Flour & When Should I Use It?

If Goldilocks’s porridge was made from wheat, it was made from all-purpose. A blend of soft and hard wheat, ground and refined to remove the flavorful germ and bran, AP is not too flavorful and not too fine, not too strong and not too weak (at around 9–12 percent protein, it’s just right). As such, it doesn’t overpower or clash with other flavors. It makes light cakes and pastry that would be rubbery and tough with excessive gluten development, as well as crusty breads that require gluten development for structure.

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